During the 60's and the 70's many children could get more than 10 lashes and life would be normal. Unfortunately, given Museveni's hard times where many children do without food malnutrition is the order of the day. many children can die even after 2 canes!
William Kituuka Kiwanuka
Shs2 trillion lost to hunger, study shows
The study calls for mandatory provision of fortified foods to school-going children.
Children queue for food. The study calls for mandatory provision of fortified foods to school-going children. COURTESY PHOTO
By Olive Eyotaru
Posted Thursday, June 20 2013 at 01:00
According to a study titled, The Cost of Hunger in Africa, the government spends billions of shillings treating diarrhoea and anemia among children with under nutrition.
Uganda is losing colossal amounts of its resources to hunger, a new study has revealed.
The study shows that an equivalent of 5.6 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product or Shs1.8 trillion is lost to costs associated with treating and managing under nutrition directly caused by inadequate access to food.
Titled; ‘The Cost of Hunger in Africa’, the study found that in 2009, an estimated 1.6 million additional clinical cases associated with under nutrition in children under the age of five cost government about Shs526 billion to treat diarrhoea, anemia, respiratory infections and other clinical conditions.
This, in turn, had a direct effect on the education of children, with stunted children noted to have a 12.2 per cent higher grade repetition than non-stunted children at nine per cent.
The effects of stunted growth stretches well into adulthood with about 54 per cent or 8 million of Uganda’s working age population said to have been stunted in their childhood.
An estimated 943 million working hours were lost due to people who were absent from work as a result of nutrition-related mortalities, taking the economy back by Shs657 billion. Prof. John Kakitahi, from Makerere University, who gave a keynote speech at the launch of the study, said the government may incur even higher costs in trying to address child nutrition.
Speaking at the launch of the findings on Tuesday, the Prime Minister, Mr Amama Mbabazi, decried the rising trend of malnutrition in the country, calling for a multi-sectoral approach to adopt policies that prevent unnecessary losses of human and economic potential.
“The critical period in formation of a human being is between zero and 1,000 days of life. The study provides us with an evidence base to build a case for food security, advocacy and policy discourse on nutrition,” Mr Mbabazi said.
The Premier said his office, which co-authored the report with support from the African Union Commission, New Partnership for Africa’s Development and World Food Programme (WFP), will continue to roll out mass sensitisation programmes to educate parents on the importance of proper child feeding.
“If we are serious about development of Uganda, we need to deal with this. The Scale Up Nutrition project, which has been rolled out in 13 districts, is supporting efforts to fight hunger and malnutrition among children,” Mr Mbabazi said.
WFP country director Sory Ouane said the results of the study were worrisome.
“Cutting hunger and achieving food and nutrition security in Africa is not only one of the most effective means of reducing the vulnerability and enhancing resilience of national economies. It also produces high returns for social and economic development,” Mr Ouane said.
Mr Matia Kasaija, the State Minister for Finance in-charge of planning, called for the enactment of the proposed food and nutrition law, which provides for the formation of a Food and Nutrition Council.
The council would make food a human right and punish individuals who deny themselves and others food. The study recommends mandatory provision of fortified foods to school -going children and those above six months of age. It also calls for increased nutrition sensitisation among vulnerable communities; review of national strategies to include stunting as one of the indicators of country’s social and economic development framework among others.
The study was conducted in 12 countries, including Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Egypt, Malawi, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Mauritania, Rwanda and Swaziland.